You forge a special bond with people you've met in class. Usually friends of friends, people you've seen online, or owners of laptops decked out with stickers of cool bands, they ride the rollercoaster with you. Your study group is there with you when everything finally clicks in the basement of the library at 2 a.m. They're there to ease your anxieties about what's gonna be on the exam. They'll even tolerate the bullshit mnemonic devices you come up with as long as you share your portion of the notes.
But study groups aren't all coffee-run fun and team flashcard games. Besides the widely varying amounts of effort put into the entire enterprise, there's the underlying awareness that you're all sorta using each other. And after the triumph of the last night of studying, the congratulatory hugs goodnight, and the knowing pre-exam smirks across the lecture room, there's the realization that you don't really know these people and probably never will. After all the use and abuse, consider yourself lucky if your former group mates even nod in your direction when you pass by them on campus. It's a bittersweet goodbye, but probably for the best since academic pressure doesn't usually breed the healthiest relationships.
Besides, do you really wanna be friends with any of these guys?
The "Dude, They Can't Test Us on the Readings" Student
They might not have been to any of the lectures, but they damn well think they're the final authority on what material is testable and will absolutely let your study coven know. This student interprets the mandatory reading list as more of a suggestion for supplementary materials, and refuses to resort to skimming like the best of 'em. With a tone that's a mix of bewilderment, indignation and sweatiness, they'll make sure to gripe about the breadth of materials covered in class and how they managed to get a C without even cracking open a book last semester — like that's supposed to impress you. He only ever shows up to your study sessions to complain about the professor's unfair grading policies. The jury's still out on how they even got into your study group in the first place, but it's probably because they're friends with that annoying girl who lives on your floor and they promised to write outlines for potential essay questions.
The Guy That Tries Way Too Hard to Make Friends
He's taken painfully descriptive lecture notes on his iPad mini, summarized every reading, and been to every single one of the professor's office hours. But this student makes damn sure that he conceals the depth of his work, and only speaks up rarely as an authority on the course. It's when they start messaging your study GroupMe four weeks out from the final exam with possible strategies and ways to divide up the material that you see beyond the iceberg's tip. This guy will read way too much into your excitement about actually passing the class, interpreting your 3 a.m. "You're literally a lifesaver!" texts into invitation for friendship — or maybe even something more. When all the outlines have been burned through, they hint at some further plans for a midnight snack run, and start inviting you to pre-games and parties that their pre-med fraternity is hosting. It's hard to pull off the Band-Aid, but you've got to. He's looking for friends. You're just part of the pack of hungry dogs looking to copy down lecture notes.
They might not have jack shit to add to the conversation about political realism, but they'll sure as hell derail the entire group conversation with the smell of their baby back ribs. They never quite got over that exciting freshman-year revelation that you can order a seven-course meal to the front steps of the library; they will abuse this privilege until they skid by at graduation. They'll offer you a place on the order, but you know never to get roped into that disgusting delivery fee. If only you could delete the Grubhub app from their phone.
This person always looks lost. Like you, they neither did the readings nor did they catch the lecture, but they're wound tighter than your high school valedictorian. Not only do they assume dominion over the Google Doc study guide, but they're the gatekeeper blocking suspected mooches from the group. Naturally, they don't have much to add themselves, so they try to mask the fact that they're dead weight with a lot of bolding and bulleting and other stuff that's supposed to make it look like they really understand the study material. They'll throw your shit into a Quizlet and act like a martyr when they share it with the group.
Give this one the task of copying basic info from the textbook, and they'll actually manage to get it wrong. They'll get to study-group business after pounding some Nattys or guzzling some Banker's, turning in early at 1am to respond to your slew of angry group messages. This is the guy who will take pictures of his four pages of handwritten notes, in pencil for some reason, and send them to your study group at the crack of dawn before the exam — which is so helpful. At least this guy will probably only show up at the last group review session to save face.